Google Maps Adds Coronavirus Data Layer to Help People Stay Safe

By Bill Toulas / September 25, 2020

Google Maps is gradually introducing the “COVID layer,” which will help people access pandemic-related data on their area or anywhere in the world. It is basically a system that draws information from official and trustworthy sources regarding the number of cases and their location. This way, users can easily get an idea of where things start to get out of control and where the coronavirus is still under containment.

The sources that will feed Google Maps with the relevant data include Johns Hopkins, the New York Times, Wikipedia, public health organizations like the World Health Organization, government health ministries, local health agencies, and hospitals.

us layer

Source: Google

The new “COVID layer” will be rolled out on the Android and iOS app of Maps, while Google hasn’t mentioned anything about the web version. Possibly, they want this to be in the hands of users who are on the move, using their smartphone devices to figure out where they should go, which routes to avoid, and what places are particularly risky.

columbia layer

Source: Google

The areas on the map will be colored accordingly, so red regions are where the virus infections are rising (more than 40 cases), orange is to denote something between 10 and 20 cases, yellow is less than 10, and grey is one case.

These numbers are calculated as the weekly average per 100,000 people, and the color codes will be dynamically adjusted as the user zooms in and out of states, cities, provinces, counties, and even urban areas.


Source: Google

With this move, Google is supporting the idea of micro-lockdowns, which is what most countries in the world are going to implement from now on. There’s no fiscal ammunition left to support a second wave of fully-fledged lockdowns, but the COVID-19 cases are still on the rise, so something has to be done.

Avoiding the most problematic areas or knowing which these are in order to take additional precautions is one great way to keep the infections under control.

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